I’ve picked up a copy of The Car That Could by Michael Shnayerson, the 1996 book about the birth of the EV1. This quote really summed up the whole sorry tale, and it appears early in the book (p. 24, emphasis mine):
Roger Smith [Chairman of GM], the cars greatest skeptic, had grown so excited by its progress reports that he’d decided to unveil it at the LA auto show in early January.
This was not, among his colleagues, a popular decision.
Did Smith realize, they asked weakly, what effect such an introduction might have on the harebrained California regulators? If GM said an electric car could be done, why, the regulators might make them do it, failing to appreciate, as usual, the difference between a proof-of-concept vehicle and a fully productionized car.
Yes. Imagine the horrors of a corporation being told to do the possible.